Summer is here, summer is here! This is one of my all-time favorite Summer recipes, and I've been making it for years. It is THE taste of Summer to me. The original recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Eating Well in Season and it's honestly so perfect I don't think I've adapted it too much...primarily just the bread preparation. This is one of those dishes that is perfect for a romantic dinner for two out on your patio on a warm evening or great for a Summer party since it scales up well and doesn't need to be served warm. It's easy to make, healthy and super delicious...this is one recipe that you'll keep in your Summer rotation for years to come.
3 thick slices whole-grain bread
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
3 TBS red-wine vinegar
1 TBS capers, rinsed and chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
3 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
2 large tomatoes (heirloom if you can find them), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium cucumber, peeled (if desired) and cut into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, then chopped into 2" pieces
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 pound center-cut salmon, skinned (get your fishmonger to do this for you at the store) and cut into 4 portions
½ tsp. kosher salt
Preheat grill to high or grill pan (in my case) to medium-high. Brush each side of bread with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the grill is hot, place bread on the grill and cook for ~2 minutes per side, or until dark grill marks appear on each side. Remove from grill and let cool then cut into 1-inch cubes
Whisk olives, vinegar, capers and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in 3 TBS oil until combined. Add bread, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil.
Oil the grill using a balled up paper towel soaked with some olive oil between tongs. Season both sides of salmon with salt and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill the salmon until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on thickness. This should work for ~1" thick...after that for every additional 1" of thickness I would double the cooking time (so another 4-5 minutes per side...still only flipping once though).
Divide the salad among 4 plates and top each with a piece of salmon. Pour yourself a nice crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy your warm summer evening with someone you love!